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Should You Try a Scalp Detox?

This trend may just help you revitalize your locks from root to tip

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Unlike the face, where issues like acne are visible, your hair can hide common scalp issues like dead skin cells, dirt, and oil buildup—until it becomes itchy and prompts a wash. The solution? Get to the root of your scalp issues with a detox. Welcome to scalp detox 101.

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Why prioritize scalp health?

We know that stress, pollution, diet, and lifestyle choices can cause acne, but did you know that these factors can have equally adverse effects on your hair, resulting in loss, thinning, irritation, and flakiness? Hair loss affects 50 percent of all men and women, so it’s essential to prioritize scalp care to maintain healthy, silky, and voluminous strands.

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What is a scalp detox?

Adding a hair cleanse into your self-care routine can help promote a healthy environment conducive to growth and hair strength. A scalp detox simply involves deep cleaning your crowning glory to remove accumulated sebum, dead skin cells, and other impurities.

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What are the perks?

A proper scalp detox may provide you with the following benefits:

  • rebalance and nourish your scalp by removing suffocating buildup
  • stimulate hair follicles to promote better growth
  • clear dandruff, scabbing, and acne
  • improve strand texture

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What does the research say?

One case study demonstrated a meaningful improvement in scalp conditions after a detox. Participants suffering from hair loss joined a five-step program that involved undergoing a scalp treatment up to twice weekly for three months. These participants were required to do the following:

  • shampoo their hair
  • massage their scalp with oils
  •  use a gua sha on their scalp
  • apply a scalp and hair mask made with natural herbs
  • perform a scalp massage using a device with indirect high frequency

After the study period, the participants were left with thicker, longer, and cleaner hair.

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How often should you do it?

There’s no consensus or one-size-fits-all answer on how frequently to rinse, shower, or detox, as each person has different scalp needs and hair types. Your best cue? When your scalp starts to feel itchy, oily, inflamed, or dry, or you’re dealing with hair loss, it may be time for a detox.

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How can you do a scalp detox at home?

Fortunately, you can do a hair detox at home without overspending by using ingredients straight from your kitchen! Items like apple cider vinegar and avocados contain hair-friendly properties while avoiding the harmful ones often found in hair products (goodbye, parabens and sulfates!). This makes them great for deep cleaning your locks. Here are three ways to do it.

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For clean and clear hair

Use this recipe for oily hair in need of a deep clean.

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups cool water

Mix both ingredients in a bowl. Shampoo hair and ensure you massage the scalp well for a few minutes to clear buildup. Use the vinegar mixture to rinse.

Benefits: apple cider can help balance the hair’s pH, seal the cuticles, and smooth curls. It may also reduce dandruff, remove accumulated grease, and soothe irritation and itchiness.

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For softer, conditioned hair

Use this recipe for dry locks that are in need of a good conditioning.

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Mash the banana and avocado in a bowl. Add the olive oil, then apply the mask to your scalp and hair. Wrap your head in a shower cap and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Rinse or leave overnight for the best conditioning results.

Benefits: olive oil contains vitamins E and A, which can plump your hair and moisturize your roots. Bananas are a known source of potassium and natural oils that are healthy for the scalp.

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For repairing damaged hair

Use this recipe if you want to save your tresses from breakage, loss, and thinning.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 1 Tbsp conditioner (reach for your favorite natural product!)

Mix everything in a glass bowl. Bring water to boil on a pan and remove from heat. Place the glass with the mixture in the pan, allowing it to sit in hot water for five minutes. Apply to your hair, focusing on the scalp and ends. Cover with a shower cap for five to 20 minutes before rinsing.

Benefits: avocado oil is loaded with fatty acids and minerals, which seal moisture in hair strands, making them look shinier and leading to less breakage.

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Continue your hair care

It’s important to continue to properly care for your hair to maintain the effects of a detox. Avoid using products that contain harmful chemicals, especially those containing sulfates, formaldehyde, keratin, and dimethicone.

  • Try adding these essential oils to your scalp-care routine to make every day a good hair day: chamomile oil for softness and shine
  • jojoba oil for moisture and beneficial nutrients
  • rosemary oil for hair growth and circulation (plus, brain power!)
  • sandalwood oil for dry ends

Note: some essential oils may irritate the scalp. Read the label to make sure you are using your oils properly.

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